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Friday 25th June 1982

GROUP TWO, Estadio El Molinon Gijon. (17:15)

WEST GERMANY   (1)   1   (Hrubesch 10)

AUSTRIA   (0)   0

West Germany: Schumacher; Kaltz, K-H Forster, Stielike, Briegel; Littbarski, Dremmler, Breitner, Magath; Rummenigge (Matthaus), Hrubesch (Fischer)

Austria: Koncilia; Krauss, Pezzey, Degeorgi, Obermanyer; Hattenberger, Weber, Prohaska, Hintermaier; Schachner, Krankl

This day was to go down as one of the most memorable in World Cup history. FIFA changed their rules on scheduling as a result of the events which occurred on 25th June 1982. The problem was that these were the last matches in three of the groups and each of the sides knew exactly what they had to do to go through. They also knew how to manipulate the system. This had not been a problem in previous tournaments but it was the Germans who found a way round things when they arranged their match with Austria in Gijon. Austria had won both their matches so far, with the Germans suffering a surprise defeat to Algeria. Algeria had lost to Austria but beaten Chile so they had finished on 4pts. Austria were also on 4pts but with a superior goal difference to Algeria. West Germany were on 2pts but also with a better goal difference than Algeria. So, if West Germany won by no more than 2 goals, both they and Austria would be through. Horst Hrubesch put West Germany in front within ten minutes of the start and that was, quite emphatically that. The result suited both sides so they just knocked it about between each other to play out the remaining eighty minutes. The crowd was incensed at the sheer audacity and bare faced cheek of the whole episode and they voiced their derision loud and clear through most of the second half. Both teams therefore booked their place in the second phase and the poor old Algerians had to go home. The game was to go down in World Cup infamy as the “Disgrace of Gijon”.

Austria went into Group D for the Second Phase, with West Germany into Group B.

1 West Germany 3 2 0 1 6 3 3 4
2 Austria 3 2 0 1 3 1 2 4
3 Algeria 3 2 0 1 5 5 0 4
4 Chile 3 0 0 3 3 8 -5 0

GROUP FOUR, Estadio San Mames, Bilbao. (17:15)

KUWAIT   (0)   0

ENGLAND   (1)   1   (Francis 27)

Kuwait: Al-Tarabulsi; N. Mubarak, Al-Mubarak (Al-Shemmari), Mayouf, M. Mubarak; Al-Houti, Al-Buloushi, Al-Anbari, Al-Suwayed; Marzouq, Al-Dakheel

England: Shilton; Neal, Thompson, Foster, Mills; Coppell, Hoddle, Wilkins, Rix; Francis, Mariner

England had won both of their group matches and were already confirmed as group winners after France failed to beat the Czechs the day before. Unless of course they suffered a huge defeat in this game. Kuwait had impressed during their draw with Czechoslovakia but were well beaten by the French in a controversial game. England made a couple of changes with Foster coming in for Butcher and Hoddle starting ahead of Robson. England were inventive early on but couldn’t convert their chances until in the 27th minute, Peter Shilton cleared the ball upfield and Mariner and Francis combined to leave Trevor Francis to beat the keeper from the right-hand edge of the area. Without the motivation of needing to win by more England settled for a simple 1-0 win. Hoddle had a couple of good chances to score but blasted over on each occasion. A perfect record from the group stages and England went into the second phase in buoyant mood, with hopefully, Keegan and Brooking to return. England would now go into Group B, along with West Germany. They would be joined by the runners-up in Group Five, to be determined that evening. France went into Group D, with Austria. They too waited for the result later on, with the winners of Group Five joining them.

1 England 3 3 0 0 6 1 5 6
2 France 3 1 1 1 6 5 1 3
3 Czechoslovakia 3 0 2 1 2 4 -2 2
4 Kuwait 3 0 1 2 2 6 -4 1


GROUP FIVE, Estadio Luis Casanova, Valencia. (21:00)

SPAIN   (0)   0

NORTHERN IRELAND   (1)   1   (Armstrong 47)

Spain: Arconada; Camacho, Alexanco, Tendillo, Gordillo; Alonso, Saura, Sanchez; Juanito, Satrustegui (Quini), Lopez-Ufarte (Gallego)

Northern Ireland: Jennings; J. Nicholl, C. Nicholl, McClelland, Donaghy; O’Neill, McCreery, McIlroy (Cassidy); Hamilton, Armstrong, Whiteside (Nelson)

Another capacity crowd in the Mestalla expected to see the hosts cruise past Northern Ireland. But this was not the Spain of today, this was a Spanish team racked with nerves at the pressure & expectation of hosting the biggest tournament in world football. But this night belonged to the Irish. It has gone down as one of the greatest nights ever in Northern Irish football.

Pat Jennings was at his best as the Spanish pressed forward and frustrated them on several occasions. The Spanish looked dangerous from set-pieces but it was goalless at half-time. Early in the second half, Armstrong pounced on a loose pass deep in his own half and drove into the Spanish half before laying the ball to his right where Hamilton skinned Tendillo to get to the bye-line. He crossed the ball into the box and keeper, Luis Arconada, probably one of Europe’s best at the time, inexplicably palmed the ball out to the penalty spot where Armstrong was lurking. Instead of placing the ball in either corner, Armstrong fired a right-foot shot under the hapless keeper and into the net. A vociferous Irish support went nuts. Amazingly, the Irish were 1-0 up against Spain, in Spain.

Despite the fact this result would see both teams go through, the Spaniards couldn’t stand the embarrassment of losing at home and so threw everything at Jennings goal but the Arsenal man was equal to the task. Midway through the half, Mal Donaghy was sent-off for a second bookable offence when he lashed out at Camacho. It was tame and another example of Spain seeming to have decisions go their way. But despite their man advantage, Spain couldn’t break through and Northern Ireland had pulled off a famous win.

The result meant Yugoslavia were out. Northern Ireland won the group and would go into Group D. There they would meet France and Austria. Spain had the enticing prospect of meeting England and West Germany in Group B.

For a special eye-witness account of this remarkable game, read this from our very own Henry Muldrew


1 Northern Ireland 3 1 2 0 2 1 1 4
2 Spain 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 3
3 Yugoslavia 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 3
4 Honduras 3 0 2 1 2 3 -1 2



That was the end of the First Phase. It was thirteen days of high drama, which had everything. Hungary and Yugoslavia could have reasonably expected to progress, but ultimately failed. Other than that most of the qualifiers were as expected. Scotland had every reason to believe they would go further. It was possibly the best side they’d ever assembled. But they were up against a Soviet Union team which was equally at their best.

The ‘minnows’ had equipped themselves very well. Algeria beat West Germany. Cameroon held Poland and Italy. Honduras held the hosts, Spain. Kuwait held Czechoslovakia, European Champions barely six years earlier. This certainly justified the extra qualification places FIFA had given Africa and Asia.

Both the hosts and the holders had been disappointing, but both progressed. West Germany had gone through by arranging a result with Austria. Northern Ireland had produced a wonderful result and fully deserved their place in the coming days. The best sides had been Brazil and England, who won every match.

The Second Phase was to throw up some interesting clashes. Again FIFA had meddled with the system to add further confusion for the spectator. The Second Phase was to be four groups of three sides. Only the sides competing in the first match were known. The losers would then play the next game. This made things difficult for fans trying to plan their travel arrangements.

The formation of the groups for the Second Phase were;

GROUP A: Poland, Belgium, USSR

GROUP B: West Germany, England, Spain

GROUP C: Argentina, Brazil, Italy

GROUP D: Austria, France, Northern Ireland